United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Nathanael L. Reynolds, Plaintiff,
State of South Carolina, et al., Defendants.
ORDER AND OPINION
HOWE HENDRICKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Nathanael L. Reynolds (“Plaintiff”), proceeding
pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this
action alleging that the State of South Carolina and the
County of Charleston violated his rights under the Sixth
Amendment to the United States Constitution by not affording
him a preliminary hearing in his pending state criminal
prosecution, for which he remains in pretrial detention. (ECF
No. 1.) This matter is before the Court for review of the
Report and Recommendation (“Report”) of United
States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker made in accordance
with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Rule 73.02 for the
District of South Carolina.
March 15, 2017, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report
recommending: (1) that this case be summarily dismissed
with prejudice, and without issuance or service of
process; and (2) that such dismissal should count as a
“strike” for purposes of 28 U.S.C. §
1915(g). (ECF No. 9.) Plaintiff filed objections (ECF No. 11)
to the Report on March 24, 2017.
Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court.
The recommendation has no presumptive weight. The
responsibility for making a final determination remains with
the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270
(1976). The Court must make a de novo determination
of those portions of the Report, or specified proposed
findings or recommendations to which specific objection is
made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). The Court may accept,
reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the Report or may
recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with
instructions. Id. In the absence of a timely filed
objection, a district court need not conduct a de
novo review, but instead must “only satisfy itself
that there is no clear error on the face of the record in
order to accept the recommendation.” Diamond v.
Colonial Life & Acc. Ins. Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005). De novo review is also “unnecessary in
. . . situations when a party makes general and conclusory
objections that do not direct the court to a specific error
in the magistrate's proposed findings and
recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d
44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982).
reviewing these pleadings, the Court is mindful of the
plaintiff's pro se status. This Court is charged
with liberally construing the pleadings of a pro se
litigant. See, e.g., De'Lonta v. Angelone, 330
F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003). The requirement of a liberal
construction does not mean, however, that the Court can
ignore a plaintiff's clear failure to allege facts that
set forth a cognizable claim, or that the Court must assume
the existence of a genuine issue of material fact where none
exists. See United States v. Wilson, 699 F.3d 789,
797 (4th Cir. 2012).
filed objections (ECF No. 11) to the Report, which the Court
has carefully reviewed. First, Plaintiff argues that he was
never indicted by a grand jury for the charges pending
against him in the Charleston County Court of General
Sessions. Plaintiff is mistaken. The Magistrate's Report
references an indictment pending against Plaintiff in
Williamsburg County for criminal charges of burglary first
degree. (See ECF No. 9 at 6.) However, Plaintiff
also has an indictment pending against him in Charleston
County for criminal charges of threatening the life, person,
or family of a public official. This objection is overruled.
Plaintiff repeats his claim about his supposed right to a
preliminary hearing in the pending case. Plaintiff has no
such right. As the Magistrate Judge more than adequately
explained in her Report, “It has been a long-standing
rule that the return of an indictment by the grand jury
eliminates the requirement of holding a preliminary
hearing.” United States v. Soriano-Jar quin,
492 F.3d 495, 502 (4th Cir. 2007), cert. denied, 552
U.S. 1189 (2008). This objection is overruled.
Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion
that the relief sought, to wit, removal of Plaintiff's
pending criminal case to federal court, is unavailable.
However, Plaintiff's arguments here are all premised on
his mistaken claim of right to a preliminary hearing, which
is baseless. Moreover, Plaintiff has demonstrated neither the
substantive, nor the procedural grounds for removal under 28
U.S.C. §§ 1442, 1442a, and 1455, and he has not
even begun to explain why this Court should contradict the
fundamental policy, repeatedly affirmed by the U.S. Supreme
Court, against federal courts interfering with state criminal
prosecutions. See Younger v. Harris, 401 U.S. 37, 44
(1971). This objection is overruled.
Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's conclusion
that the instant matter is a duplicate of another case
Plaintiff has pending before this Court, Reynolds v.
South Carolina, Case No. 4:17-cv-298-BHH-MGB. Plaintiff
points out that Case No. 4:17-cv-298 is brought against
defendants State of South Carolina and County of
Williamsburg, whereas the instant case is brought against
defendants State of South Carolina and County of Charleston.
Plaintiff argues that the Magistrate Judge has confused the
two underlying state court criminal prosecutions. However,
the distinction between the federal cases is immaterial to
the viability of Plaintiff's claims therein, which are
indeed identical, namely, that his constitutional rights were
violated because he was denied a preliminary hearing after
having requested one. Plaintiff was indicted in both
underlying state court prosecutions; therefore, his claim
regarding the denial of his putative right to a preliminary
hearing is equally unavailing in both federal cases.
Plaintiff has also unsuccessfully raised this theory in
another case in front of Judge Lewis, wherein it was fully
explained to him that the lack of a preliminary hearing does
not give rise to a constitutional claim so long as probable
cause has been established in the form of an indictment.
See Reynolds v. Brown, Case No. 4:15-cv-865-MGL-SVH,
2015 WL 4077168, *2 n.1 (D.S.C. Mar. 5, 2015), adopted
by 2015 WL 4078552 (D.S.C. June 30, 2015).
Plaintiff's re-pleading the same frivolous theory here,
hoping for a different result, is a waste of judicial
Court finds that the Report fairly and accurately summarizes
the facts, with a minor correction regarding the associated
indictment in Charleston County, and applies the correct
principles of law, and the Court agrees with the analysis of
the Magistrate Judge. Plaintiff has not stated a plausible
claim for relief and the case is frivolous.
reasons stated above and by the Magistrate Judge, and after
de novo review, the Court overrules Plaintiff's
objections, and adopts and incorporates by reference the
Magistrate Judge's Report, to the degree not
inconsistent. Accordingly, this action is DISMISSED with
prejudice. This ...